phd candidate salaries

phd candidate salaries

  • PhD candidates in Switzerland can get salaries between 2’500 swiss francs and 6’000 swiss francs, referred to a employment rate of 100%.
  • The average annual wage of a PhD candidate is 55’000 Dollar, this is, depending on the actual exchange rate, 53.560 CHF per year and 4’460 CHF per month.
  • Depending on the institution and field of research and depending on how the PhD is funded (SNF-scholarship, assistanceship etc.), the loan can have a wide range. PhD candidates in exact sciences (computer science, mathematics, physics, ...) and medecine are usually better paid than PhD candidates in life sciences, chemistry, arts and humanities. However, the salary and the working conditions depend on the exact contract you have.
  • Please consider, that PhD candidates often have only a 50% employment.

Salary comparison

In comparison to a doctoral candidates, a masters graduate who is employed outside the university, earns significantly more:

  • The annual gross salary (median) for master graduates at university level (all economic sectors, all positions, all regions), 1 year after graduation in 2016 is: 76’000 CHF
  • The annual gross salary (median) for master graduates from universities of applied sciences 1 year after graduation in 2016 is: 81’400 CHF

But a graduated PhD then starts with a higher salary:

  • The annual gross salary (median) for PhDs 1 year after graduation in 2016 is: 90’000 CHF

Source: FOS /


  • Usual working time in Switzerland: 42 hours per week.
  • Holidays: Legally 4 weeks per year. Some companies give 5 weeks.